Building a new hunting rig

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by mtsooner, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. mtsooner

    mtsooner Member

    Dec 28, 2008
    So, I lurk on LRH a lot, but post very little, since I don't have near the experience to contribute, that a lot of you have. I'm gonna give you a little background here, before I ask for suggestions, so bare with me, please.:)

    I recently moved to Texas, and in doing so, I sold my Savage Weather Warrior 338WM with a Zeiss 3x9, which I used for elk in Colorado. It was a good gun, but I wasn't fond of the cost per round and the "kick" left little to be desired. Other than, it was a great shooter out of the box!

    So, now I'm currently "rifle-less" and I want to put something together again for medium sized game, including elk and maybe a trip to Alaska in a few years for moose.

    I will honestly say, I'm not real comfortable shooting out past 400 yards. The longest elk I shot with the 338 was at 370 yards. Yes, I know that's measly compared to many of you, but I feel my current effective, humane killing range is +/- 400 yards, when you factor in all the scenarios you see while hunting. If I can't get close enough for that, I feel the game deserves to walk and not be potentially wounded.

    I'd like to get better at shooting longer distances, but for longer ranges, it seems the money escalates fast with the level of equipment you need for medium to large sized game. I have a family and a budget for my hunting expeditions, so cost is always a factor, and given my limited hunting budget, I'm likely gonna be a "one-larger-caliber-rifle-at-a-time" man.

    Anyway, I've been doing tons of research, and I think I've settled on this rifle in .308:
    Savage Arms

    I like the features of this model, and .308 seems, to me, to be one of the best all-around calibers for North American big game. I know I could go with 30.06, but it doesn't come in that model, and I don't know that I can gain a lot by going up to that caliber from a .308.

    I also like that no matter where you are, even in this day and age, you can usually buy .308 rounds for fairly cheap if push comes to shove.

    This is the scope I'm thinking of going with:
    Vortex Optics - Viper 3-9x40 Dead-Hold BDC

    It gets great reviews all over the web, and I don't think, given my current self-imposed shooting limits, I need more than 3-9x40.

    Along with the other accessories, like a rings, bipod, etc. I'm going to try and keep the cost at around $1500, give or take a couple of hundred.

    So, after that long-winded story, what are your thoughts on that setup, and does anyone have any opinions, suggestions or otherwise to add?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. LaHunter

    LaHunter Well-Known Member

    Sep 30, 2012
    Just me personally, I would choose a caliber / round with a bit more 'pop' than the .308. If you are going to have 1 rifle to fill several needs, then in my opinion I would look at a 7mm mag or 300 Win Mag. Both are excellent long range rounds and both are effective on for nearly all game in North America, except dangerous game. Just my 2 cents.

    Good Luck

  3. ogreshooter

    ogreshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2009
    I know that cost is always a consideration. Having raised my family, I know that your ideal hunting rifle is more of a dream than a reality.

    Like LaHunter said, perhaps the 308 is not quite enough rifle for your needs. This is based on your mention of going to Alaska to hunt sometime. 308 just does not have the juice needed for Alaska game. Continental 48? Darn right! Alaska? Not so much.

    Some other considerations are:
    Do you reload? Or will you just be shooting factory ammo?
    What is your grand total budget for rifle, scope, mount and rings?

    If I am guessing, I see that the link you posted mention about $1000 for a rifle. If that is the case, I think you should look elsewhere.

    First, check out the for sale section here and on other websites. Often times you can get a semi-custom rifle, or at least a higher end stock rifle, for under that budget with LOTS of life left.

    If that is not your cup of tea, check out Remington (I mention that because I work almost exclusively on Remington 700 rifles) and I really like the bolt and trigger over a Savage action. Savage is OK, but I do not like the feel of the bolt and I do NOT like the trigger.

    As for caliber, go hit your local sporting goods store and see what ammo is available in your area. I would, in honest, step up to a long action (like a 30-06) or a short mag (I prefer a 7WSM). My boss just took his 7WSM to Africa and took EVERY animal he wanted. I only mention that because African game is tough, and if a reasonable caliber works there, it WILL work in Alaska.

    I know it is a lot to digest and consider. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. You can also PM me here and I can help you with other suggestions, perhaps even finding you YOUR rifle.

    Jason Klein
    Grim Reaper Tactical
  4. BackpackHunter

    BackpackHunter Member

    Oct 25, 2013
    .308 is great all around caliber. Easy on the shoulder for all day practice and effective on North American big game.

    As for them. I own Savage, Weatherby, and a Remington 700 in bolt guns. The bolt takes a little more effort to lift, but not enough for me to worry about. I recommend Savage to all my friends and coworkers.

    I think your choice of scope is also good. I own a couple of Vortex products and am happy with all of them.

    I think your on a the right path with your research.
  5. angus-5024

    angus-5024 Well-Known Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    From one family man to another, I think your on the right track.
    A .308 win is a mediocre elk rifle at best, and is laughable in Alaska.
    That being said, it will work for elk and if your going to Alaska you will probably be doing a little better financially and a big .338 up to a .416 of some sorts would need to be budgeted for.
    so my suggestion is to buy the Savage in .308 and throw a $99 Boyds laminate on it (I like the thumbhole). Then save a little more $$ for a 2.5-10X44 Vortex PST or one of Sightrons offerings. This package will let you
    *buy accurate factory ammo for as cheap as it comes*
    *let you practice without killing your shoulder*
    *lay a smack down on anything in Texas and still hunt elk to a moderate range*
    *learn to shoot long range*
    **** past it down to your kids to learn on ****

    You really cant ask for one gun to do it all, but the above mentioned platform is going to do more for you on a budget than most.
  6. cgard423

    cgard423 New Member

    Sep 5, 2012
    I was in your shoes not too long ago, and although I'm not super experienced in the effectiveness of specific cartridges on game since my background has been punching holes in paper at long range and only recently changed from paper to tasty critters, I've got some shooting and rifle building experience to throw at you. Keep in mind I was on a budget when I did this. I bought a new Remington 700 adl at a big box store, $450 and it came with a cheap Remington scope, bought the dies and components for my chosen caliber, $100. Bought a couple boxes of cheap ammo to have something to shoot and a little more brass. This was my rig for my first season. Following summer, I bought a Boyds laminated thumbhole stock for $99 and a glassbedding kit from midway for $30. I made my pillars, but they're not too expensive if you don't have access to a lathe. Topped it off with leupold base and rings, $70 total, and a vortex viper HS 4-16x44 for $480. I ended up a good bit under your $1500 ideal including reloading supplies, didn't have to take a big financial hit at one time and ended up with a rifle that is easily upgraded with aftermarket parts. To top it off, the accuracy is amazing, the rifle truly fits me because it was made to fit me and I got to know my rifle inside and out.
  7. Full Auto

    Full Auto Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Right on Angus great advice. In my group of everything you can think of I have a Savage Axis? in .308 for NC and MI where I hunt I handload 150gr Remington Corelokts (bad speller) and they kick ass. Go for it you'll like it. Then get a Weatherby 300 magnum. oh yeah love it.
  8. youngtrout

    youngtrout Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    I'd stick with the 308. Or even go with less, like a 260, 7-08, etc. The 260 will do everything you need it to do in TX, and less recoil. Long range, you will fight a 260 less than the 308. Get a ballistic app, and crunch some numbers. (you did not mention reloading, from that standpoint stick with 308 for factory)

    Don't take this the wrong way, why "over caliber" to say hunt AK moose someday?, when 99% of your shooting will be in TX? You will just be back with a gun you don't shoot often enough. Think less recoil, more shooting fun,,,,Again, just my opinion, you should have sent 100's of rounds downrange (at least some...) at your max range prior to being confident harvesting an animal at the range you practice? but maybe that's me

    Pick a decent caliber for your area. You mention building, your post is buying. If you are building then the savage hands down because you can screw a premium barrel on the cheap (no gunsmith).

    Buying, like the others mentioned, get a 700. If you wanted to go "semi custom" don't start with the barrel, get a custom trigger, I really like the jewel. to each their own

    Once you pencil out the AK trip, (don't get me wrong, we can use the dollars in our economy) a moose hunt up here will start at 3k and I'm being conservative with unguided and short fly-out, pick up a 30/06 or a 7mag, 300wm, for that trip. A new rifle is an drop in the bucket with the cost of the hunt cost, you can sell it when you get back,, again, being conservative. Or bring the 308, would do just fine. Moose are not a tough animal to anchor.

    Final answer, rem 700, 308, upgrade a trigger, boyds laminate stock was an excellent suggestion, pillar and bed, you can do it yourself, and ammo to shoot it.
  9. 270whiz

    270whiz Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    I maybe the crazy one here but I think a 270win would fill the bill for you.

    Light recoil , good bullet selection , comfortable to shoot, Skip the magnums and keep it simple. You can get ammo anywhere in a pinch.

    Fairly cheap to shoot if you roll your own.

    Just my thoughts. Have fun with whatever you decide.
  10. Win.308Stealth

    Win.308Stealth Well-Known Member

    Feb 10, 2011
    The .308 will do fine in Alaska. I free up in AK, and moved away right after high school, so I still keep in touch with lots of my old friends up there. I know guys who have harvested moose for the last 20-30 years using the good old .308. I also know more than a couple of people who have taken brown bears with a .308. Personally, when I go back to Alaska I will be bringing my .300 ultra, but then again I use my ultra for whitetails and pronghorns too.